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Posted on: May 13, 2020

Public Utilities encourages businesses to flush water lines before reopening

Water running out of a stainless steel faucet

The City of Lenoir Public Utilities Department encourages any businesses that have been closed for more than 10 days to thoroughly flush all their water pipes before reopening.

Related: Governor Cooper Announces Modified Stay At Home Order and Transition to Phase 1 of Easing Restrictions, May 5, 2020

When water stays in pipes for too long, it can become stagnant. Over time, the disinfectant in the water, such as chlorine, will likely dissipate or become ineffective. The longer that water stays stagnant in pipes, the greater the chance that waterborne bacteria could grow.

Owners of buildings or homes that have been unused or vacant for more than 10 days should also flush their plumbing system.

Below are guidelines for flushing the plumbing in a building:

  1. Remove or bypass devices like point-of-entry treatment units (filter systems) before flushing.
  2. Take steps to prevent back flow or siphoning (e.g. close valves separating irrigation systems from home plumbing, disconnect hoses attached to faucets, etc.)
  3. Organize flushing to maximize the flow of water (e.g. open all outlets simultaneously to flush the service line and then flush outlets individually starting near where the waterline enters the building).
  4. Flush the cold water lines first and then the hot water lines.  Note: Many hot water tanks can be drained directly; it can require roughly 45 minutes to fully flush a typical 40-gallon hot water tank.
  5. Run enough water through all lines and outlets (e.g., hose bibs, faucets, shower heads, toilets, etc.), removing aerators when possible.  The Public Utilities Department recommends you flush lines for at least 10 minutes for each outlet. Typical duration existing protocols varies from 10 to 30 minutes for each outlet depending on velocity.
  6. Replace all point-of-use filters, including the filter in refrigerators.
  7. Additional flushing may be warranted if there is excessive disruption of pipe scale or if there are concerns about biofilm development.

Business owners or managers in Lenoir who have any questions or concerns about their water quality can call City of Lenoir Public Utilities at 828-757-2175 or the City Water Treatment Plant at 828-757-4460 during regular business hours.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has very detailed information on reactivating plumbing systems after dormant conditions on its website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/php/building-water-system.html.

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